Not far from Bryce Canyon’s crowds, the Red Canyon area of Dixie National Forest is a great alternative for hikers who want some solitude amid spectacular colored hoodoos. The hike up the Golden Wall Trail is one that won’t disappoint the fitter hiker who wants to do some hill climbing and get top-of-the-world views.
The trailhead for Golden Wall is just 500 feet west of the visitor center on the opposite side of Highway 12. After crossing a large wash, the first half mile of the trail is relatively flat as it meaners along a dry wash though juniper and pine trees. At the sign announcing the junction with the Castle Bridge Trail, a decision must be made: take the left fork for a path through the hoodoos, or go straight to stay on the Golden Wall Trail. For those who don’t mind a bit more elevation gain, the scenery is worth heading left. Once the trails merge once again, there is a rather steady climb up to the first ridge. Head back down for a significant drop before the trail climbs again to the base of the namesake Golden Wall. Be sure to note the exquisite balanced rock on the far end of the wall. The views over the saddle are spectacular, and the trail heads back down for a few hundred feet before climbing up a stunning bowl to reach the top of the ridge and the junction with the Buckhorn Trail.
Note: This trail combines well with the Buckhorn Trail to form a 4-mile loop by walking about a half mile west on the multi-use trail or the nearby wash back to the Golden Wall trailhead and the visitor center.